The word “papoose” comes from the Algonquian word “papoos” and means “child.” Marlin’s diminutive semi-auto rifle has undergone a variety of iterations over the last thirty-odd years, but the original concept behind the famous nickname has remained the same. Today’s Model 70PSS is designed to fit anywhere, be shot by anyone, and tag along on whatever adventure comes next.
I had the chance to take the latest Model 70P for a spin and was reminded once again why well-made semi-auto .22s are so fun to shoot—no matter their size.
Caliber: 22 Long Rifle
Magazine: 7-shot nickel-plated
Action: Nickel-plated autoloading; side ejection; automatic “last-shot” bolt hold-open; manual bolt hold-open; cross-bolt safety
Stock: Monte Carlo black fiberglass-filled synthetic with abbreviated fore-end, nickel-plated swivel studs and molded-in checkering
Barrel: 16 1⁄4″ stainless steel barrel with Micro-Groove® rifling (16 grooves)
Twist Rate: 1:16″
Sights: Adjustable open rear sight, ramp front sight with high-visibility orange post; cutaway Wide- Scan hood. Receiver grooved for scope mount.
Length: 35 1⁄4″ assembled
Length of Pull: 13 1⁄4”
Weight: 3 1⁄4 lbs.
Carry Case: Yes
Marlin categorizes the Model 70PSS alongside the Model 795, both of which are descended from the box-fed Glenfield Model 70. The Model 795 cannot be taken down and features an 18” barrel, a 10-shot magazine, and a non-abbreviated forend, among other differences.
VS. Ruger 10/22 Takedown
Lots of companies have and will continue to manufacture takedown rifles chambered in .22LR, but the Ruger 10/22 Takedown is without question the most popular. Ruger’s reputation is well-deserved, but if you’re in the market for a .22 semi-auto, Marlin’s offering is worth a look.
Ruger manufactures a variety of 10/22 Takedown models, but the closest comp is the classic Takedown with a stainless-steel barrel. While I won’t be comparing triggers or ergonomics here, the 70PSS offers several obvious advantages over Ruger’s rimfire.
If you’re looking for a survival rifle, the 70PSS is lighter and more compact than the 10/22. Its overall length is 1.75” shorter (35.25” vs. 37”), its barrel is 2.25” shorter (18.5” vs. 16.25”), and it’s 1.35 pounds lighter (3.25 lbs vs. 4.6 lbs). Both rifles will fit almost anywhere, but ounces lead to pounds on a backpacking trip, and Marlin’s rifle will help lighten your load and save room for other gear.
The 70PSS also includes an adjustable rear sight, sling studs, and a bolt release that can be manipulated with one hand—all features absent on the 10/22. You’re unlikely to be ranging a .22LR much beyond 200 yards, but I found the three shortest notches on the adjustable rear sight to be on target at 25, 50, and 100 yards. Sling studs are a must for any outdoor rifle, and releasing the bolt on the 70PSS doesn’t require pressing a button with the left hand and pulling back the bolt with the right.
The Ruger 10/22 beats the 70PSS in several other categories, of course, (magazine capacity, aftermarket parts, ease of takedown etc.), but Marlin’s little rifle holds its own against Ruger’s legendary rimfire, and it might even be a better option for an outdoor excursion.
The 70PSS is a great outdoor/survival rifle not only because of its weight — Marlin also designed the rifle’s parts and coatings to be weather-resistant. The barrel is constructed from solid stainless steel, the aluminum receiver has a weather-resistant clear coat, and the bolt and magazine are nickel-plated. These coatings help keep each component from rusting and ensure reliable cycling.
The fiberglass-filled synthetic Monte Carlo stock won’t warp if it’s dropped in water, and it features aggressive checkering on the grip, a slightly raised comb, and nickel-plated sling studs.
The case is also designed to survive a drop in the water. It’s handy for packing, but it also includes flotation pads that keep the little rifle on the surface of the water rather than at the bottom. I tested this in my bathtub, and while I can’t speak to the case’s ability to stay afloat in a swift current, it does seem to buoy the rifle in calm water.
You can find firearms more tailor-made for survival scenarios (Henry’s AR-7 comes to mind), but Marlin’s rimfire is at home both in the woods and at the range. Its rugged construction will keep it functioning in SHTF scenarios, but its simple design and user-friendly functionality is perfect for new or young shooters as well.
Performance – Takedown, Reliability, Accuracy
Nowhere is that simple design more evident than during the takedown/reassembly process. To install the barrel, users simply insert the barrel into the receiver and tighten the takedown nut. Flat surfaces on the barrel and receiver ensure the barrel is only installed the correct way, so new shooters don’t have to worry about improper installation.The barrel nut can be tightened by hand or with the provided spanner wrench.
I found that tightening by hand secured the barrel for 5-10 shots. After that, the nut needed tightening again. Using the spanner wrench, the nut began to loosen slightly after 70-80 rounds, but it didn’t start losing accuracy until well over 100.
In other words, if you’re spending a day at the range with the 70PSS, be sure to check the barrel nut every 10 mags to ensure it’s still tight. If you’re hunting or only shooting a few dozen rounds, you won’t have to worry about it.
You also won’t have to worry about reliability—ever. Federal was kind enough to send me several hundred rounds of their CCI 40g segmented hollow point loads as well as their 40g match hollow point loads. I also had some Remington 36g round nose hollow points on hand, and I fed those through the 70PSS as well.
The little gun ran everything without a single malfunction. I shot standing, sitting, and from a bag, and I never experienced any issues. I also shot several rapid-fire sequences and failed to produce a jam or malfunction.
The gun’s accuracy was less impressive than its reliability. While I was pleasantly surprised by the trigger (5 pounds, great reset, minimal pre- and over-travel), I couldn’t consistently produce groups under 2” at 50 yards. I used iron sights rather than a scope because scope rings tend to move on the 70PSS’s tiny, 3/8” rimfire rail (in my experience, at least). But even with irons, I expect groups from these distances to be under 2” no matter the ammo. As you can see from the chart and images below, the 70PSS liked some ammo better than others.
(Note: I’ve marked flyers that appear inconsistent with the rest of the groups. Interpret as you will.)
|Ammo||Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Average|
|CCI 40g||1.45”||3” w/flyer, 1.2” w/o||1.2”||1.28”|
|Federal 40g Match||2.5”||2.9”||1.5”||2.3”|
|Ammo||Group 1||Group 2||Average|
|CCI 40g||3.2” w/flyer, 1.2” w/o||1.5”||1.35”|
|Federal 40g Match||1.8”||2.6”||2.2”|
The CCI is the clear winner, producing groups under 2” at both distances (with two discounted flyers). That’s pretty good, and CCI’s 40g segmented hollow point loads are inexpensive, readily available, and effective on small game. Your 70PSS might like something different, but I’d start with the CCI.
The 70PSS may not be a tack driver, but with the right ammo it’ll get the job done. More importantly, it’s compact, super-reliable, and outfitted to endure the harshest elements. At under $300 on the street, Marlin’s newest Papoose is a fantastic option to stow in your bugout bag or as a first rifle for your kid.
But whether you use it to save your life or not, it’s sure to provide hours of .22LR plinking fun on your next trip to the range.
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